Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Geosciences (PhD)

Degree Level





Jackson D. Cothren

Committee Member

Fredrick W. Limp

Second Committee Member

Jonathan L. Johnson

Third Committee Member

Alan E. Ellstrand


Board Interlocks, Economic Geography, Social Networks


This dissertation aims at exploring how physical proximity, among other geographical elements, affects the synthesis of boards of directors, the decisions executives make, and, in general, organizations. Drawing on the rich literature in economic geography, these studies focus on re-evaluating the effects of geography on board of directors in the contemporary context characterized by significant technological advancements which is expected to minimize the effects of distance.

The first paper evaluates the geographic proximity effects on the likelihood of board interlock ties creation, while controlling for endogenous network processes. Additionally, all proposed network specifications are simulated in order to assess the extent to which the small world phenomenon of the board of directors is affected by geographic dependencies. The second paper focuses again on board of directors interlocks and assesses the effects of a multi-dimensional construct of proximity (geographic, organizational, institutional, cognitive) on the likelihood of an interlock tie existing in the network. Furthermore, the interactions of the only physical dimension of proximity – geographic – with every other dimension are also evaluated. Finally, the third paper explores the conditions under which top executives will receive a compensation premium when they change employers. First the effects of the overall relocation distance are tested. Then the interaction effect of the local labor market compensation density standards with the overall distance on the likelihood of receiving a compensation premium is tested. Finally, this study also explores the underlying argument of the geographic preference theory, according to which individuals are willing to accept a lesser compensation premium when they relocate to a more desirable location.

The overall findings highlight the effects of physical proximity and spatial dependencies. More specifically, geographic proximity was found to be positively associated with board interlock ties, as well as having a statistically significant moderating effect in the relationship between other forms of organized proximity and board interlock ties. Additionally, geography was found to be linked to the difference compensation packages of top executives who switch employers. All these findings suggest that there is a close relationship between the strategic management and economic geography literatures, worthy of deeper and further exploration.

Available for download on Friday, June 30, 2023